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Africa Travel Planner
Restaurants: "Africa offers a culinary feast," says Jennifer Lawson, who produced a TV series on Africa for National Geographic. Don't just stick to the Western-style food served in reputable hotels. Know, and try, the regional specialties. "North Africa, for example, has excellent French fare and heavenly couscous," says Lawson. "East Africa offers German and Indian foods as well as great local lobster from coastal waters. South Africa offers excellent Malaysian, Indonesian, and Indian foods."
Street vendors: Don't overlook the pleasures of dining on the street. "In some cases, street vendors have achieved the vaulted status of preparing the best grilled meats, samosas (deep fried vegetable turnovers), roasted corn, or nuts in town," says Lawson. But, stick to the popular stands. "If a vendor's booth is crowded, recommended by locals, has a means of refrigeration, and is open—meaning you can see how clean it is—then it's probably safe to eat there," says Karen Cockburn, co-founder of the Africa Travel Centre.
Safaris: Meals are included in many safari packages. Advise operators of what you will and will not eat, if you're a vegetarian, or have food allergies. Most operators prepare both Western and local specialties. "The main complaint on most safaris is that the food is so good travelers wind up gaining weight," says Mike Nesbitt, founder of the African Safari Company.
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